Sunday, May 30, 2010

More about New York’s Fleet Week

[tweetmeme style="compact" only_single="false"]

My entire convergence news package about Fleet Week is up on the WJI Times Observer (the video was posted here yesterday). Be sure to check out the slide show for some nice photos (if I do say so myself). :)

My previous projects have been about immigrants overcoming the language barrier and a new pedestrian-friendly design for 34th Street right here in front of the Empire State Building. (Those also have slideshows and an audio piece.) And tomorrow? Well, we’ll see when we get there, but another package will be completed Wednesday night. Then we’ll be working on a radio piece, 60-90 seconds, and I have something rather interesting in mind for that, I think. We’ll see how everything pans out.

Tonight, though, I’m going to try to do something non-journalistic and quite touristy—I’m going to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. Pictures will be forthcoming provided I get somebody to go with me! (I think I have two apartment-mates convinced to go.)

Woah, I just figured out that I can insert a map…. and voilá, you can see the location of the Brooklyn Bridge!

Map picture

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Coast Guard drill team visits Times Square

Here’s the promised video!

Fleet Week in NYC

Today, I learned why I’d seen so many uniformed military men passing through Manhattan: This weekend is the height of New York City’s Fleet Week, when members of the Coast Guard, Marines, and Navy descend on the city for a sort of shore leave. There is a ton of stuff going on in Times Square, including the Navy Band Northeast (which was this evening) and some drilling from the Coast Guard’s Silent Drill Team (which was fantastically fun).

Coming tomorrow: a video about the drill team! I got some interviews with members of the drill team after they were done drilling, and one explained to me the process of becoming a part of the drill team. Look for it!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

WJI: The biggest thing I’ve learned recently

In the last few days, I’ve gotten drummed into my psyche one important journalistic item: Get the name and contact information of everyone, absolutely everyone, that you talk to. Including the receptionist at the organization, or the passerby you videotape commenting on the mayor’s latest initiative.
I’ve learned this by forgetting to do it. So far it hasn’t hurt me too much—but I know it might in the future. That’s why I’m trying to make it a habit to ask people for their names and e-mails, at least, and often phone numbers as well (if I don’t already have it—I’ve been calling organizations on the phone lately).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Testing, testing, one-two-three…

So I just downloaded Windows Live Writer—the Microsoft blogging software. We’ll see if I really want to keep this.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Moral: Just read the sign.

I was up way too late last night. (Don't tell my mom. *wink* ) First of all, I was out covering my current story until quite late, then I stayed up even later to get laundry done. I'd have done the laundry Sunday night but the little laundry card machine was out of laundry cards. *sigh*

So I was up till 1:30 waiting for the dryer to get done. And I take the elevator four floors down... and walk around the corner to the laundry room... and find the door securely locked. The large sign in one of the windows to the laundry room proclaimed the room's hours:
OPEN DAILY
7AM -- 1AM
You'd think I'd have seen that sign earlier. The laundry waited until this morning to be removed from the dryer.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another redesign....

I discovered Blogger in Draft (draft.blogger.com) today. And I like it. So what about this look?

First package from WJI up

Miracle for alternative transit on 34th Street

I couldn't resist the allusion.

EDIT: The website was slightly reworked, so the old link no longer works. Please follow the new one.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Video: Papaya Dog

I never would have thought to combine the words "papaya" and "dog." As in, a fruity hot dog or something. But somebody had a demented enough mind to do so....

Friday, May 21, 2010

WJI: Ten things I've learned.

1. Tell the story. Find the story. Make it a story. Personalize the story. It's a story that needs to be told, and it needs to be coherent and compelling.

2. Show the story. Use a little color. Don't say that "she was happy." Say that "she smiled widely when I told her the news."

3. Work together. ("Work, work together...") It's a lot easier to do your job if someone's helping you, and then you can help out your partner. You play off each other's strengths.

4. Windows Live Movie Maker is the least capable video maker possible.

5. New York streets make sense, and it takes half an hour to walk to the Hudson River from the Empire State building.

6. Don't talk while you're trying to take video. That's your natural sound you're obliterating!

7. Get some variety in your photos and videos, both in composition and in content. Don't take all your pictures of the same two things.

8. Waking up at 5:40 A.M. can be worth it.

9. So can walking half an hour each way to interview miscellaneous bike enthusiasts.

10. Journalism just gets more fun the more I do it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

World Journalism Institute: A Morning with Pulliam

I hardly have time to write anything--I'm spending a solid 12 hours a day solely on class and homework. (As in, I have to be in the classroom before 8:30 in the morning and I don't get back to my room until after 8:30 at night.) But I don't care.

The WJI program is amazing. It's the biggest challenge I've had in journalism--definitely on the level with my challenge in my Spanish major of being plopped into a Spanish-speaking household when barely able to string two sentences together in Spanish.... if not even more challenging. I'm learning from Russ Pulliam today, who's a senior editor at the Indianapolis Star (woohoo Indiana!) and whose family has been in newspapers for a few generations. From reading a collection of his editorials and features in preparation for this course, I thought he'd be in-your-face and blunt.

I couldn't have been farther from the truth. He's very Midwestern, as he said himself, where people are polite and nice--at least, nicer than New Yorkers. He's a quiet speaker, and not intimidating at all, despite his incredible journalistic resume. Right now we're rewriting a news story to shorten it and tell only the absolute key parts (in 100 words or less--definitely a challenge), and he's going around the room, reading our rewrites and asking us kind questions to help us understand how we can do better.

He points out what is great, and tells us what he wouldn't do--"I wouldn't worry about..." or "I'm not sure I'd...", for example. He gently tells us what we need, but not as if he's telling us what to write--he's telling us how we can tell the story we want to share more concisely and with more interest. He's letting us know how we might "want to be careful" about keeping a reader in suspense too long, or how we need to clarify what the real story is.

Pulliam couches all his advice in unassuming terms. Try to imagine hearing "I think you might be trying to do too much here..." in his soft voice. It's very reassuring to a young journalist the day after staying up late finishing a grueling assignment.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I'm not dead! (+New York)

How many times have I used that as a post title, I wonder?

But anyways--I really am here, just, I've not been posting in the last several days. (Or the last couple weeks, it appears.) I've been busily working on several final projects/papers, plus I went home for Mother's Day this past weekend (and conspired with my sister to royally surprise my mom), and I'm leaving for New York in... five short days.

That said, I'll soon have a music video of a Tom Lehrer song up on YouTube. (It's one of those final projects I've been burying myself in.) I finished editing over half of it today, so if all goes well, I'll have it uploaded on Thursday morning.

In the meantime, I'll be working on a porfolio that I've had to put off until tonight/tomorrow.... it shouldn't be that big of a deal.

And then.... New York! That's for the World Journalism Institute's New York course in backpack journalism, for which I'll spend three weeks in Manhattan, reporting on the latest and greatest news in the area, using all sorts of media--text, video, audio, photo, whatever you can think of. The Wheeling trip story a few weeks ago was a pre-class project I had to do for that.

I can't believe I'm actually going to take this course. I've been interested in it for quite a while--even looked into applying for it last year, but neither the schedule nor the finances were working out for that. This year, it's a different story--and I will be quite busy for the next four weeks. It's pretty much a dream come true. (A medium-sized dream. The big dream is yet to come, if ever to be realized.)